Track faces last big meet before getting ready for conference

The SHSU track team has been rolling through this season, knocking off record after record. The Bearkats have only two meets left before the Southland Conference Championship, and they are making improvements every day.

This weekend, the team will head back to Austin to participate in the Texas Invitational Meet. This will be the last large meet the team will have before conference, and there will be several large schools competing.

Teams such as Baylor, University of Texas, Texas A&M, and the University of Houston will compete with the Kats this weekend.

SHSU head track coach Greg Hinze is not intimidated, however. The team is used to stiff competition with large schools, and is not intimidated.

“Our men’s 4 x 400-meter relay was beating Alabama, Notre Dame, and Stanford last weekend before dropping the baton and would have wound up beating them had we finished the race,” Hinze said. “We also have two men who are among the top ten athletes in the country in their respective events.”

The only thing that may slow down the Bearkats is the heavy training week they had this week. The team had a high workload this week in preparation for the tapering down before the SLC meet.

The girls’ team is full of talent, but they are also very young, and the girls are coming into their own as the season progresses. Hinze said he felt it was only a matter of time before they started performing at the level they have been the last few weeks.

“We have 16 new athletes on the roster this year, and it takes time for freshmen to adjust to Division I track and field, both from a competition and training standpoint,” Hinze said. “The talent has always been there, it just took some time for them to get adjusted and figure out how things work, and now their talent is starting to come through. I’m very encouraged by the progress we’ve made so far.”

Hinze feels that the girls’ 4 x 400-meter relay has a very good chance to hit the Regional standard this weekend, having just missed the mark the last time they ran the event.

The men have had a huge year thus far, and this meet should be no different. Hinze said he is looking for big things from them as well.

“Joe Amburn needs to get a mark for Regionals in the 1500-meter and we’re running out of time for him to do it. It’s not a matter of if he can, it’s just a matter of getting in the right race,” Hinze said.

Chris Stewart will be competing in the 400-meter dash for the first time this week, and Hinze looks for him to be at or near the top of the conference standings in that event after this week. Also, Hinze would like to get Raul Villarreal qualified for the regional meet in the steeplechase.

As far as field events go, the pole-vaulters have had a very successful year, and those competing in the javelin are coming along very well, having placed on both the men’s and women’s side last weekend at the Drake Relays.

Kym Norsworthy is long-jumping well at this point in the season, and the team will also get Alishia Fowler back from the volleyball team this weekend to high jump.

“Clint Gallagher, I think, has done the best job of anyone on the team in terms of keeping the ‘big picture’ in focus,” Hinze said. “He didn’t throw well at all early in the year but knew what his body was telling him and now is throwing the 54′ feet at the perfect time of year. He’s a big key for us.”

As far as injuries go, there will be only one athlete sitting this meet out due to injury. Courntey Boston tweaked his hamstring in practice last week.

Hinze said he feels Boston should rest it.

“There is no sense in aggravating that injury now when our most important meets are yet to come, especially because he is a big cog in the wheel for us at the conference championship,” Hinze said. “We’ve been performing at a very high level for about the past three weeks and I’d like to see that continue.”

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